MANY singletons go on Love Island with the hope of leaving the villa rich and famous (and having found love, right?).
But some end up regretting they ever entered – including last year's 'bombshell' Rachel Finni.
Earlier this month the 30-year-old hotel sales executive felt "publicly humiliated" and trolled by former co-stars Brad McLelland, Aaron Francis, Jake Cornish and Tyler Cruickshank.
And, as a result, Rachel admits she wishes she'd never applied to be on the show, in an exclusive interview with The Sun.
She also shares shocking behind-the-scenes secrets – claiming producers set up scenarios between islanders and sabotage potential relationships that don’t fit their narrative.
Gruelling application process
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It’s widely known that a number of contestants are now hand-picked by producers – with just three of this year’s group having got through organically.
Rachel says she was one of only three who’d actually applied in 2021 – and the audition process sounds gruelling.
From applying in January to finding out she’d got on the show at the end of May, she says there were "two or three stages you had to pass every month".
She recalls: “The first three months there were a lot of conversations, Zoom calls, telephone calls, and getting to know you.
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“The next couple of months involved background checks, mental health checks, family background checks.
“Then the last few stages – when you know you’re going on – were STD checks, blood tests, and media preparation, which is when you do photoshoots and stuff like that.”
However, she adds: “It's not vigorous because you're applying for such a fun thing!”
Rachel entered the Love Island villa as a bombshell but was considered for one of the original islanders – or “OGs”, as she calls them.
For this reason – as well as Covid protocols – she was holed up in a separate villa in Majorca with just a chaperone for company and no access to the outside world.
She tells us: “You can't go out or do anything, you can't turn on the news.
“You're literally just in this villa. It's amazing though.”
On the afternoon Rachel finally went into the villa, she was presented with various outfit options by an executive producer, who also worked with her to decide how her hair and make-up would look.
She was then taken in a car to another holding area, which she says was the back of the house where the show is produced.
After she'd got changed she was able to watch the last episode of the show so that she was up to date.
She had no clue where she was, or how close she was to the main villa, as “everything has code names”.
Entrance 'not good enough'
Rachel claims she was ridiculed for her entrance by both viewers and some of her co-stars, as she struggled to walk in her heels.
She tells us she spent half an hour doing the "stupid walk" and "hair flicks" as she was made it re-shoot it several times.
She adds: “Even when I actually walked in and said, ‘Hi boys,’ I had to go back out and do it again because it wasn't good enough.”
That wasn’t the only time Rachel claims producers meddled during her time on Love Island.
She says: “There are always two producers walking around saying 'Why don't you talk to this person?’ or ‘Why don't you do this?’, telling people to do certain things.
“They’ll pull you to the corner and be like, ‘So how are you feeling?’
“I remember being told to beg for Brad to pick me in the recoupling, and I was like, ‘I'm not f*****g doing that. Do you really want me to add to this whole brokenhearted girl narrative? No.'”
She claims she went into the Beach Hut (where Islanders speak direct to camera) and complained that she was “being forced” to say and do stuff by producers, and was reprimanded.
According to Rachel, they told her it was "really unfair" to make such accusations because they "only want the best for her".
“They kind of make you feel guilty, but it's like, 'No, you're really messing with it',” she adds.
“There were times where I’d be talking to other people and trying to get to know them, and they'd call me or that person to the Beach Hut and try and separate us.
"Or they’d say, ‘Can you go and talk in your couples?’ or ‘Girls, why don't you go and talk about breakfast?’
“I remember producers said to me, ‘It's reality TV but it's entertainment. We need to make it entertaining.’ So that just shows that it's all produced.”
She adds that other former contestants have told her they were “grabbed just before they were about to do something” by producers and then talked out of it.
Rachel says she now regrets going on the show – especially after the recent bust-up with Brad, Aaron, Tyler – who has since apologised – and Jake.
"I'm blessed in that I can still live my normal life and enjoy the perks of having been on the show," she says.
"To be publicly humiliated by four idiots, a whole year later, for being who I am… I don't deserve it. No one deserves it.
"There's been other bad things that have happened since coming off the show.
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"When it comes to actually weighing up all the negative things that happened – the messages, the abuse – I'm like, you know what, I wish I hadn't done it, and it's sad."
When The Sun reached out to Love Island producers for comment, they said: "The opinions the Islanders have and the relationships formed are completely within the control of the Islanders themselves."
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